Dramatic Dream Team
Wrestle Peter Pan 2019
July 15, 2019
Ota Ward Gymnasium

Watch: DDT Universe

Meet our previewers:

  • Taylor Maimbourg: Wow, it’s been a while.  Taylor makes his triumphant return to VOW previews with a fun Peter Pan show, but what else would you expect from DDT?  Follow him on all social media @tamaimbo.
  • Thomas Fischbeck: Man writing these in the third person can be quite difficult, huh. Thomas is currently curbing his gambling addiction during the college football offseason by betting on the G1. What could possibly go wrong? Follow him on twitter @rasslingratings.
  • John Carroll: John is here to make up for missing their first-ever NJPW roundtable preview in probably two and a half years at Dominion. But what do you want from them, they were in Japan! Follow them on Twitter @toshanshuinla or even better just follow their podcast instead @wrestleomakase.

Under Match: HOTEL CENT INN KURASHIKI presents Exhibition Match
Kota Umeda vs. Keigo Nakamura

Taylor: Kota Umeda, one of DDT’s most promising young wrestlers, announced earlier this year that he would be leaving wrestling to manage his family’s business.  His final day is July 21st, so Wrestle Peter Pan represents his final major show with DDT. He will actually appear twice on this show, in this match and in the DNA First Class Reunion Match.  On the undercard, he faces Keigo Nakamura. Nakamura is DDT’s newest trainee who has had a few exhibition matches on smaller DDT house shows, but has not yet officially debuted. DDT has had an excellent track record with trainees in the past few years, so it will be interesting to see what Nakamura brings to the table.  Prediction: Kota Umeda

Thomas: This is currently scheduled to be Kota Umeda’s final singles match before he officially leaves wrestling on the July 21st Korakuen. Hopefully one day he returns to the business as he has been one of the brightest young stars in DDT the past few years. Nakamura has had a couple of singles matches that went about five minutes on some small house shows and made an appearance on the Sendai Girls vs. ALL OUT show, but this is his first real chance to shine in a big spot, and who’s a better opponent than Umeda? Obviously, the rookie will eat the fall here in what will likely be a quick match, but as Taylor said DDT has an incredible history with young guys over the past few years so there is no reason I’d expect Nakamura to be any different. Prediction: Kota Umeda

John: Feels like only yesterday there was a hot new rookie debuting for Dragon Gate named Futa Nakamura, and now that guy is main eventing Kobe World this month. Some other guy named Shinsuke turned out to have a pretty good career too before he retired to Florida. Keigo will try to become yet another pro wrestling Nakamura success story, and you could certainly do worse than getting a spot against Kota Umeda, who absolutely rules. I will wait for you forever, Kota! Prediction: Kota Umeda

Under Match 2: JPA Tax Accountants presents TJPW Offer 6-Woman Tag Match
Rika Tatsumi, Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino vs. Natsumi Maki, Yuna Manase & Himawari Unagi

Taylor: The Tokyo Joshi Pro offer match has become a staple of DDT’s big shows, and Wrestle Peter Pan is no exception.  This edition of the offer match features six women fresh off losses in the Tokyo Joshi Princess Cup. Yuna Manase will probably have the biggest fire underneath her after she lost in the finals of the tournament to Mizuki.  With Miyu Yamashita no longer at the top of the pyramid in Tokyo Joshi, the landscape of the company is wide open and it’s not easy to predict a winner here. Manase could use a rebound win after her tournament loss, but so could Tatsumi and Maki after they both were eliminated earlier than some thought.  Maki came in with a lot of fanfare and has not had much follow up, so I could see her getting the victory to right her ship. Prediction: Natsumi Maki, Yuna Manase & Himawari Unagi

Thomas: I was surprised to see the Tokyo Princess Cup winner, Mizuki, not in this match after her big tournament final win over Yuna Manase, nor the Tokyo Princess of Princess champ Shoko Nakajima, who is rumored to be on the AEW show this weekend. We do get Natsumi Maki and Yuna Manase, two women who came just short of the tournament crown, teaming up with Himawari Unagi to take on Rika Tatsumi and the team of Nodoka Tenma and Yuki Aino, which could be the Tokyo Princess Tag champs by the time this show takes place as they have a title challenge on the 13th. I have no clue which way this match goes, but Tenma has been kept strong recently outside of a first-round exit in the Princess Cup and she needs to rebound from that. Plus she got the pin the last time we had one of these big TJP offer matches so I’ll predict the same to happen here. Prediction: Rika Tatsumi, Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino

John: Tokyo Joshi Pro was probably my favorite company/brand in the world last year, of any gender, but I haven’t been quite as into it this year. It’s still good, but it feels like we’re in a little more of a rebuilding phase now. Some big stars have either moved on or gone on hiatus (Reika Saiki and Marika Kobashi are two who spring to mind for me immediately, but even losing an Azusa Christie late last year was a bigger blow than most people gave it credit for), others like Miyu have taken a step back, and there’s a ton of newer talent to work into the shows like rookie Unagi and newcomer Natsumi Maki. After a good but not great Princess Cup, I’m very happy with Mizuki as the winner and think she and Shoko will likely have an awesome title match. In the meantime, this will be your typical TJP offer match: short and fun. Prediction: Rika Tatsumi, Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino

Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Iino & Mizuki Watase vs. Yuki Ueno, Naomi Yoshimura & Nobuhiro Shimatani

Taylor: As I mentioned previously, DDT has had an excellent track record with developing new trainees and wrestlers, but one place they have faltered is in their ability to move these newer wrestlers up the card.  Iino, Ueno and Yoshimura have all shown flashes of brilliance, but too often they seem to be stuck in these types of spots, lower down than the card than they warrant. Currently, the ceiling for all of them seems to be the six-man titles, and without those titles being defended on the show, they are plopped down in the opening match.  I’m sure this match will turn out to be a fun opener, but I just wish that the spotlight on some of these younger wrestlers was growing. Prediction: Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Iino & Mizuki Watase

Thomas: If you are just tuning in to DDT for the first time for this show, this is a match to watch as a lot of the future of the company will be featured in the main card opener here. All of these guys have huge potential to break through to the KO-D scene, hopefully, sooner rather than later. Shimatani is still kind of a prelim pin-eater guy so I’d expect him to take the fall here. Who he takes the fall to is an interesting question but I’d say most likely to Ino who DDT seems to be very high on, for good reason as he’d probably my #1 of the six as well. He takes a lot of pins as well, but is also a multi-time six-man champ and has held an AT/AW gauntlet so has probably accomplished the most of the six. Prediction: Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Iino & Mizuki Watase

John: This is sort of your typical “we don’t have anything for these dudes right now” DDT big show 6-man. Shunma is just back from injury, Iino remains a big comedy guy for the most part, and Watase is, well, Watase. On the other side there’s a little more movement at least with the team of Yoshimura & Ueno, a clever little pairing of former DNA rivals (Yoshimura was clearly the top heel of that brand and Ueno was one of the top babyfaces at the same time) that hasn’t really clicked super well as a team yet. Honestly I just think Yoshimura is a way better heel than a babyface which may be the problem; he reminds me a lot of Shingo Takagi in DG in that he has a natural bully aura that’s augmented by the fact that he’s bigger than the vast majority of the roster, so I would like to see them turn him at some point. But with DAMNATION the only real heels in the company at the moment and Yoshimura not being a great fit there, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Speaking of DAMNATION, Shimatani will likely be eating the pin here. Prediction: Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Iino & Mizuki Watase

DNA First Class Reunion Match
Kazusada Higuchi & Ryota Nakatsu vs. Kota Umeda & Kouki Iwasaki

Taylor: Umeda’s second match of the night features him in a tag match along with his classmates from the now defunct DNA promotion.  All four men have taken very different paths, with Higuchi ascending up the card in DDT, Nakatsu in BASARA, Iwasaki in Ganbare Pro and Umeda leaving the business.  I’m sure this match will have lots of emotion, as did Shigehiro Irie’s farewell match in DDT a little while ago. DDT also likes to get wrestlers from their other brands onto their bigger shows, and having Nakatsu and Iwasaki in this match checks that box.  Although Umeda will almost undoubtedly beat Nakamura in the undercard match, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the fall here and go out on his back. Prediction: Kazusada Higuchi & Ryota Nakatsu

Thomas: This is probably one of my most anticipated matches on the show as I love seeing BASARA and Ganbare represented on these big shows, and I’d like to think that even in this random undercard match a guy like Nakatsu could stand out, as I legitimately think he’s one of the best in the world. When Nakatsu dropped the Union MAX title and then was announced for this show I thought there was a chance that he was being moved over to the DDT main roster, but with the announcement that BASARA is leaving DDT and Nakatsu seemingly on board that seems less likely. Nonetheless, I’m in agreement with Taylor that Umeda ends up looking at the lights here, most likely after a Doctor Bomb from Higuchi. Prediction: Kazusada Higuchi & Ryota Nakatsu

John: Kota Umeda isn’t just one of the best young wrestlers in DDT or Japan, he’s one of the best young wrestlers in the world period, so seeing him leave the wrestling business maybe forever will be a very tough pill to swallow. At least he’s going out in what should be an absolute banger of a match. Like I said earlier, I will continue to hold out hope that he’s able to come back someday, at least part-time. Prediction: Kazusada Higuchi & Ryota Nakatsu

Super Joshi Pro Wrestling Wars 2019
Saki Akai vs. Yoshiko

Taylor: Yoshiko returns to DDT as herself for the first time in a year, and there’s really only one way this goes, right?  Saki Akai, valiant babyface of DDT, now adrift after the dissolution of Shuten Doji, goes up against the big bad of joshi, Yoshiko.  I have a feeling this is going to be pretty one sided, with Akai fighting from underneath until she either gets a fluke victory or looks up at the lights.  One would assume that Akai, as the DDT wrestler, would get the victory, but against Yoshiko all bets are off. Prediction: Yoshiko

Thomas: To my knowledge, this is the first women’s singles match on a Peter Pan card ever. Yoshiko isn’t unbeatable, 8-2-2 in singles matches this year, so the possibility of Akai scoring a quick rollup isn’t out of the question. Yoshiko should dominate this match with a few hope spots from Akai, but I’m in concurrence with Taylor that in the end the big bad invader picks up the win. Prediction: Yoshiko

John: My only real reaction when this match was first announced was basically “please don’t die Saki”, and that’s pretty much my only thought now. Whether she gets a fluke win or not (I’m skeptical), I just hope she survives to tell the tale against joshi’s most infamous badass. Strangely these two bear quite the striking resemblance to two women who teamed together on a Sumo Hall show for DDT last year……just add an oversized teddy bear and a rose and I think you’ll see it too. Prediction: Yoshiko

DDT Extreme Championship – IPPON Light Tube Death Match
Akito © vs. ASUKA

Taylor: I sometimes feel like a broken record doing these DDT previews, but once again, looking up and down the card, I believe that this match could steal the show.  I predicted that the last Akito big show match would do the same (vs. T-Hawk at Judgement), and I was right. Akito is arguably the most underrated talent in a company full of underrated guys, and he has an innate ability to go out on big shows and deliver.  He has an intergender match this time against ASUKA who is pretty underrated in her own right. I actually really enjoy seeing ASUKA in intergender matches because she has such incredible athleticism that I sometimes feel she has to hold back when facing other women.  For those of you who read “light tube death match” in the stipulation and are debating skipping this match – the match only has one single light tube. If you are squeamish or tend to skip the more extreme deathmatches, this one will be far from that. In fact, I expect this match to rely mostly on the athleticism of the two athletes and probably a lot of teases of the light tube being used.  Don’t skip this one. Prediction: Akito

Thomas: Akito and ASUKA are two of the most underrated wrestlers in the company, and I’m excited for this Extreme Title deathmatch with a single light tube. I am a little worried that they play too much into the lighttube comedy, but if they wrestle this straight with just a little bit of teasing on that front this has the potential to be a show stealer. ASUKA is a perfect intergender wrestler, just watch her match vs Yuji Hino from ZERO1 or a bevy of matches since she joined DDT. ASUKA pinned Akito on the 6/30 Korakuen in a tag match, and I’m not even sure she’s actually signed to DDT, so normal booking would say that the champ gets his win back in the title match. Prediction: Akito

John: If you’re wondering how this unique one light tube (that’s what 一本 means, essentially “one long thing”, one of Japanese’s many counter words) match came about, it goes back to the last Korakuen show. ASUKA stated that being matched up against Akito sounded dreadfully boring, and she wanted a stipulation like a light tube death match to liven things up. Akito, kinda proving her point, said he couldn’t handle that much excitement and would only agree to a match with one single light tube. As a result, we have the first-ever IPPON Light Tube Death Match. The others have already covered it but this match could indeed be quite awesome, featuring two of the most underrated wrestlers in the world today. Don’t sleep on it! Prediction: Akito

Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship – Delayed Entry Battle Royale
Toru Owashi © vs. Kuro-chan vs. Shiro Koshinaka vs. Funitsuke Kamen (Lucky Ikeda) vs. Joey Ryan vs. Yukio Sakaguchi vs. Makoto Oishi vs. Antonio Honda vs. Kazuki Hirata vs. Mad Paulie vs. Tomomitsu Matsunaga vs. Gorgeous Matsuno vs. Hiroshi Yamato vs. Pokotan vs. Yuki Kamifuku

Taylor: After a few consecutive big shows without them, DDT has brought back these Ironman Battle Royales in a big way.  If there’s anything to focus on storyline wise in this match, it’s the interaction between Kuro-chan and Yuki Kamifuku.  Kamifuku is in the match because Kuro-chan demanded a woman be put in the match, and Kuro-chan has already threatened to do some very unbecoming things to Kamifuku during the match.  Other than that, it will be your usual Ironman Battle Royale (as much as these things can be usual). There’s really no way of predicting who wins this, or if they’ll even keep it for more than a few minutes after the match, so I’ll decide randomly. Prediction: Pokotan

Thomas: I love these delayed entry battle royals, but as Taylor said, predicting a winner is essentially just throwing a dart at a board. Joey Ryan is making his return to DDT for this one, and Yuki Kamifuku joins from TJP.  60-year old famous junior wrestler Shrio Koshinaka is in this match as well. I have no clue who wins this one, but I’ll say they give Honda a win on the big stage after he recently dropped his Extreme Title to Akito. Prediction: Antonio Honda

John: I love the big show Ironman battle royales and I’m very glad DDT has brought them back, because they’re just such a blast and they’re something you basically can’t get anywhere else in wrestling. I think something like this is kinda like what AEW was going for with that awful casino battle royale at Double or Nothing, but: A) unlike that battle royale, these are actually good & B) no one winning this is going straight to a main event match for a world title on the next big show! Anyway, this will rule. Who cares who wins. Prediction: Yuki Kamifuku, bullet train sucker

2nd Generation Human Windmill vs. 3rd Generation Taiho
Hideki Suzuki vs. Yukio Naya

Taylor: Last time Suzuki appeared in DDT proper, he made Yukio Sakaguchi look like an absolute geek, so let’s hope this outing goes a bit better.  Yukio Naya has officially made the jump over from Real Japan after a few appearances, and he looks to be added to the crop of good young wrestlers in DDT.  Now that Naya is an official roster member, I have a feeling that this match will most likely give us a hint as to his future direction in the company. I have a feeling large portions of this match are going to be Suzuki wrecking Naya in the center of the ring, but it will be interesting to see how Naya responds.  Will he toughen up to Suzuki and respond or will he shrink from the spotlight? Prediction: Hideki Suzuki

Thomas: Hideki Suzuki has been making a lot more appearances outside of Big Japan recently, most notably in NOAH, but he returns to DDT here against Real Japan prospect Yukio Naya, who recently left the promotion to join DDT. Naya is the grandson of famous sumo wrestler Taihō Kōki, and Naya had a great match with Kazusada Higuchi at the 6/30 Korakuen where he ended up looking at the lights. I don’t expect the result to go any differently, although it will be a completely different style of match. Prediction: Hideki Suzuki

John: I’m hyped for this just because Hideki matches always have a different vibe than anything else, and like Taylor pointed out you never know when he’ll come in and just totally eat his opponent alive (you can ask Daichi Hashimoto about that too). Naya is a very large man, so will he be able to use that size to his advantage if things start to break down? Will they make us think things are breaking down when they really aren’t breaking down at all? Hideki is, in many ways, the last true pro wrestler on earth in that he could just be working us when it absolutely looks like he’s shooting on the other guy. There’s an element of danger with him that doesn’t exist with very many folks out there, and that’s kind of why I love watching him. Prediction: Hideki Suzuki

Chris Brookes & Masahiro Takanashi vs. Moonlight Express

Taylor: I seem to like Chris Brookes more than most, and even I didn’t predict that his stay in DDT would be this successful.  He’s taken to the promotion like a fish to water, and the promotion seems ecstatic to have him. With Kid Lykos off in retirement, I wouldn’t mind Brookes sticking around longer term.  Even though he doesn’t have a marquee match per se on this show, he’s actually in a perfect spot. He excels in tag matches, and he’s in a match with a great partner and across the ring from one of DDT’s best tag teams.  The only question is if this match gets enough time to be great. Moonlight Express’ matches on these big shows have tended to be on the shorter side, robbing us of the truly excellent matches they are more than capable of.  Prediction: Moonlight Express

Thomas: Chris Brookes has been great in DDT so far, putting in a terrific performance in the 6/30 Korakuen main event in a three-way match against Konosuke Takeshita and Sanshiro Takagi. He teams with Masa Takanashi to take on Moonlight Express, who were a tag team of the year contender early on but have fallen off after dropping the KO-D tag straps on the big 3/21 Korakuen in a tremendous match against Daisuke Sasaki and Soma Takao. Since losing the titles, Moonlight Express went on a big losing streak, losing matches to Ricky Starks & Mike Rollins, Sasaki and Takao in the title rematch, and most recently HARASHIMA & Shinya Aoki. They finally broke the streak on the 7/7 house show against Yukio Sakaguchi & Makoto Oishi, but with Chris Brookes challenging for the KO-D title on the July 21st Korakuen, I think he gets a pin here and MAO and Bailey continue to struggle to get back on the right track. Prediction: Chris Brookes & Masahiro Takanashi

John: I was lucky enough to see Brookes’ debut in DDT live in person back in Kyoto a little while ago, and despite not being all that familiar with the guy (as those who know me know I’m not exactly a huge watcher of the Euro graps) he definitely made a good impression. With all the talent here- MAO & Bailey both absolutely rule and Masa is more than capable of holding up his end of the bargain- the floor on this is like a really fun ***½ tag match. The ceiling is something that steals the show. Prediction: Moonlight Express

Inaugural O-40 Championship Decision Match – Weapon Rumble
Sanshiro Takagi vs. Super Sasadango Machine

Taylor: Wrestling’s senior citizens are finally receiving some respect as DDT introduces a brand new title for wrestlers over 40 years old.  Imagine the people you could bring in! Jushin Liger! Yoshinari Ogawa! Negro Casas! Dory Funk Jr.! Of course, knowing my excitement, this title will be like the 10 person tag titles, appearing on one show and disappearing into the ether.  As for the match itself, DDT has shown that these Weapon Rumbles are often the best match on the show. Even an abbreviated version stole the show at DDT’s Wrestlemania weekend show. I have no idea what weapons will make an appearance, but I would imagine we will see the infamous plastic boxes and the triumphant return of the Dramatic Dream Cycle.  As for the winner, it’s anyone’s guess. Prediction: Sanshiro Takagi

Thomas: This is a hilarious idea for a title, and what a better way to decide it than a Sanshiro Takagi weapon rumble, one of the most consistent matches in wrestling. Super Sasadango Machine can still go a little bit when he wants to, and while I think a lot of people may expect this to be mindless comedy (and there certainly will be some of that!), this will over deliver on expectations. As for the winner, Sanshiro Takagi lost five weapon rumble matches in a row before finally beating MAO on the DDT Wrestlemania weekend show. I think he continues his newfound winning ways and becomes the inaugural champ here. Prediction: Sanshiro Takagi

John: God I love DDT. Only they would think to make a joke like this referencing an obscure NJPW title that: 1) Was only around for 2 years total, 2) Only had three different title reigns and two different champions and 3) Was deactivated fourteen years ago! Whether the O-40 title is destined to become a regular feature on DDT shows for at least a little while or is another one-show joke title we never hear from again, we’ll have to wait and see to find out. Either way we’re certainly starting the belt off with a bang here, as Takagi is in his second Weapon Rumble of the year (and first on Japanese soil). These things are basically never not awesome, so look for yet another really fun match. Prediction: Sanshiro Takagi

Dramatic Dream Match
Shinya Aoki vs. Danshoku Dieno

Taylor: A true clash of styles, one of Japan’s premier MMA athletes faces off against the world’s strongest gay wrestler.  It’s OK if you aren’t sure what to expect from this match, as the participants don’t know either, with Dieno openly wondering what the ruleset will be in this match.  Aoki’s run in DDT has had its ups and downs, with exciting MMA-influenced bouts mixed in with overly long grappling snoozefests. With Dieno involved in this one, it certainly won’t be boring, but will it be good?  I’m not sure. Dieno is certainly capable of the occasionally well-worked match, but I dread this turning into humping vs. grappling. Prediction: Danshoku Dieno

Thomas: This will be something! Aoki has been really fun since joining DDT, although I know that isn’t a unanimous opinion. Dieno feels just as controversial. The man who main evented last year’s Peter Pan went through an MMA countermeasure gauntlet match on the 6/30 Korakuen to try and prepare for this but ended up failing miserably. I think we see Dieno trying to go at Aoki in Aoki’s style early on and getting decimated before switching to his usual antics and pulling the upset. Prediction: Danshoku Dieno

John: Look, this is the exact type of “what the fuck??” match I want to see on a major DDT card. It’s an amazing premiere shoot-grappler against a man whose offense is almost entirely hump-based. Hook it up to my veins. And yeah, somehow, someway, Dieno is for sure winning this. Prediction: Danshoku Dieno

KO-D Tag Team Championship
Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao © vs. HARASHIMA & Yasu Urano

Taylor: Most people have really taken to Soma Takao after his heel turn and entry into DAMNATION, but I am not one of them.  His energy is strikingly similar to New Japan’s SANADA, and I feel the same way about both. They both exude a “who cares” attitude that strikes me the wrong way, boring me and turning me off to their matches.  I was especially disappointed when Takao won the tag titles, as I was hoping to see a long and successful tag title run for Moonlight Express. Luckily, Takao is paired with Sasaki, who might be the best wrestler in the company at this point, so my interest in this match isn’t totally destroyed.  This match is interesting because I’ve totally lost the pulse of what is happening with these tag titles. It seemed like Moonlight Express was set up to have a long run, but lost them fairly quickly, so even though my gut says that DAMNATION retains here, I wouldn’t be surprised if HARASHIMA and Urano pull it off. Prediction: DAMNATION

Thomas: Soma Takao rules and Taylor’s takes are bad, his great run in the King of DDT tournament really made me turn the corner on him. I will say that this DAMNATION tag title run has been pretty nothing since the opening title win, maybe because Sasaki is burnt out after having a hell of a last 18 months or so. This could just be me trying to speak a match I really want to see into existence, but Sasaki vs Endo feels like it could be the match for the Sumo Hall show in November, but that is still months away so you don’t necessarily have to have the DAMNATION guys drop the belts quite yet. HARASHIMA is great, and Yasu Urano has been really good this year since he moved a little bit up the card in BASARSA. I really have no feel on this match, but I’ll assume the champs retain as much as I’ve kind of been disappointed by their reign so far. Prediction: DAMNATION

John: If I’m breaking the tie I’m definitely with Thomas here: I like DAMNATION Soma, certainly a hell of a lot better than pre-DAMNATION Soma. He and Sasaki are a strong tag team and they’ve had some good defenses, and I suspect this will be another one. Yasu Urano is one of these DDT guys who kinda left but technically never really did- not even counting MUSCLE or BASARA, this will be his sixth match of the year already, so he’s more just like a special attraction- so I could easily see he and HARASHIMA winning the belts here. It doesn’t feel like there’s much left for Sasaki & Soma to do with the titles anyway and I think Sasaki could be moving on to bigger and better things (a title match with Endo, as Thomas speculated, could be coming soon to a screen near you), so I’ll go ahead and say they pull the trigger on the ex-SMILE SQUASH guys. Prediction: HARASHIMA & Yasu Urano

KO-D Openweight Championship
Tetsuya Endo © vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Taylor: Two years ago at Peter Pan, Tetsuya Endo walked in as the challenger and Takeshita walked in as champion.  I and many others thought that Endo would leave as champion, but it was not to be as Takeshita defeated Endo in one of DDT’s best matches of 2017.  Now, two years later, the roles are reversed and Endo is looking to finally get a win over Takeshita on the biggest stage. Since their match at Peter Pan in 2017, they faced off twice in singles matches, once in the 2018 D-Ou Grand Prix where they went to a 30-minute draw and in the 2019 D-Ou Grand Prix where Endo beat Takeshita in 22 minutes.  In many ways, this feels like a mirror to the Okada-Tanahashi Wrestle Kingdom story that New Japan ran a few years back. The overconfident but highly favored challenger losing to the champion before building themselves back up, winning the title, and finally proving themselves by beating their rival on the biggest stage. To me, Endo should win this.  Takeshita has often felt like an escape hatch for DDT the past few years, with the title drifting back to him any time the seas get rough. But Endo is the real deal, and having him beat Takeshita here and hold on to the title for a while could really be the jet fuel needed to propel him to new heights. Either way, this will undoubtedly be match of the night and under the right circumstances could even be a match of the year contender.  Prediction: Tetsuya Endo

Thomas: This feud has been and will continue to be DDT’s Okada-Tanahashi rivalry, or whatever historic example you want to give it. Both guys are incredibly young, and they’ve already faced 11 times. Takeshita leads the series 6-3-2. After they went 60 on DDT’s Max Bump show, it seemed like Peter Pan 2017 was finally Endo’s time to win the title, but Takeshita bested him to retain the KO-D crown. They had another great match in another time limit draw in the 2018 D-Ou Grand Prix, and then Endo finally beat Takeshita for the first time in over two years in the 2019 D-Ou. 

At the 2019 Judgement show, Takeshita bested Endo’s stablemate, Daisuke Sasaki, for the title, only to drop it back to him on the DDT USA show. Endo saw this as his moment to shine and cashed in his AT/AW gauntlet to beat his stable leader to win his first KO-D title in a shocking moment. As Taylor said this very much resembles Okada and Tanahashi’s two Wrestle Kingdom matches in terms of storytelling, and while you never really know with DDT and Takeshita, Endo absolutely SHOULD retain the title here and finally get the win over Takeshita in a big spot. No doubt in my mind. Prediction: Tetsuya Endo

John: I wish I had the confidence of Taylor and Thomas to say Endo is definitely winning this, but speaking as a huge fan of the guy who has been burned before (burned attending live at that Peter Pan 2017 match Taylor just mentioned, in fact!), I do have that little voice in the back of my mind telling me “Takeshita is the ace, he’s just gonna win yet again”. I really, really do not want that to be the case, so I’m sticking with optimism and assuming they 1) know they’ve really hit into a good thing with this Endo run, as he’s low key having one of the best title reigns of anyone in wrestling right now & 2) know they still need to go back and do a real Endo-Sasaki rematch for the belt after Endo won via cash in back in New York. But man. I can’t shake that feeling of LOL TAKESHITA WINS coming back to bite me! I guess it means I’ll be on the edge of my seat for the entire match, which is a good thing. I’m just a scared little mark I guess, but god I hope Endo pulls this one out. There’s no reason why this can’t be a fantastic match, but…..please! Prediction: Tetsuya Endo